The address for Fenway Park has officially become 4 Jersey Street.
New street signs have gone up on the road outside Fenway Park, formally dropping the name of a former Boston Red Sox owner over allegations that he was a racist who resisted signing black players.
The street had been known as Yawkey Way since 1977, honoring former owner Tom Yawkey. Boston city officials voted last week to have the street revert to its original name, Jersey Street. The city’s Mayor, Marty Walsh, told the Boston Globe the signage was changed early morning Thursday to minimize traffic disruptions.
Back to Basics?
A charity named for Yawkey has requested the signs and plaques honoring him. The group opposed the name change, saying it was based on a “false narrative.” Per the charity’s spokesperson, the name change minimizes the millions of dollars in charitable contributions that have benefited all city residents. The Yawkey Foundation issued the following statement:
“As we have said throughout this process, the effort to expunge Tom Yawkey’s name has been based on a false narrative about his life and his historic 43-year ownership of the Red Sox. The drastic step of renaming the street, now officially sanctioned by the City of Boston (and contradicting the honor the City bestowed upon Tom Yawkey over 40 years ago), will unfortunately give lasting credence to that narrative and unfairly tarnish his name, despite his unparalleled record of transforming the Red Sox and Fenway Park and supporting the city he loved through his philanthropy.”
Yawkey owned the Red Sox from 1933 to 1976 and presided over the last franchise in Major League Baseball to field a black player. The team did so in 1959, more than a decade after Jackie Robinson first played for the Dodgers.
The movement to change the street’s name back to its original moniker was in the works for some time. In February, the team filed a petition with the commission to change the name as part of a mission to “reinforce that Fenway Park is inclusive and welcoming to all.”
–Mike D’Abate is a Managing Editor and National Columnist for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He covers the NFL, MLB and NHL. Follow him on Twitter @mdabateFPC